Yesterday HRH The Countess of Wessex, Patron of LCF visited theMaking for Change’ fashion training and manufacturing unit at HMP/YOI Downview. Underlining her commitment to our Better Lives ethos, which uses fashion as a discipline to drive change, build a sustainable future and improve the way we live, The Countess met staff and prisoners and awarded participants with certificates as part of their rehabilitative training programme.

Photography: Press Association

Head of LCF Professor Frances Corner said:

“We know there is a critical shortage of technically skilled people within the UK fashion industry which is why Making for Change is so valuable. Not only does it address a recognised skills gap but it provides meaningful training to female offenders as part of their rehabilitation.  We know that education is vital in giving people the opportunity to change their lives for the better.  I am very grateful to our patron HRH The Countess of Wessex for returning to the unit today to see the incredible progress we have made since its inception in 2014 and to our funders Sir John Cass’s Foundation, the Pilgrim Trust and the Sheriffs’ and Recorder’s Fund who ensure Making for Change continues to thrive.”

Governor Robin Eldridge, HMP/YOI Downview said:

I am delighted that HRH The Countess of Wessex was able to attend today’s event and want to thank my staff and London College of Fashion, UAL for their hard work on this important project. Making for Change is an excellent initiative which teaches women the vocational skills and broader education they need in preparation for release. We are committed to helping all of the women at Downview to turn their lives around. Making for Change helps women to enter the workplace and make a success of their lives and reduce the risk of re-offending.”

Photography: Press Association

Making for Change is a fashion training and manufacturing unit established by the Ministry of Justice and LCF in 2014 at HMP Holloway; it moved to its new home of HMP Downview in summer 2016, where it nearly doubled in size. The project aims to increase well-being and reduce reoffending rates amongst participants by equipping them with professional skills and qualifications within a supportive environment.